afternoon. I am honored to join you today. My thanks
to Jim Foster for inviting me to be a part of this
recent weeks, we have watched the Toronto terrorism
investigation unfold. To date, 17 suspects have
been arrested in an alleged terrorist plot to bomb
several prominent buildings in Toronto and Ottawa
and to behead the prime minister.
men did not merely talk of taking action; they tried
to purchase three tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer.
That is three times the amount used in the Oklahoma
the Canadian authorities uncovered this plot before
these men harmed anyone, we face the sobering fact
that yet another group of extremists planned a terrorist
attack and took steps to execute that attack.
the terrorists responsible for both the London and
the Madrid bombings, the Toronto suspects lived
in the area they intended to attack. They were not
sleeper operatives sent on suicide missions; they
were students and business people and members of
the community. They were persons who, for whatever
reason, came to view their home country as the enemy.
want to talk today about the changing shape of terrorism
and, in particular, the threat of homegrown terrorism.
I want to talk about the radicalization processhow
an extremist becomes a terroristand what we
in the FBI are doing to address this new threat.
more than a decade, al Qaeda has been the driving
force of terrorismmoving thousands of people
through training camps in Afghanistan and providing
the motivation, the money, and the management for
the past five years, with our military, law enforcement
and intelligence partners around the world, we have
disrupted al Qaeda's central operations. We have
captured or killed many key leaders, including the
mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed, as well as al-Zarqawi and many of his
associates in Iraq.
have destroyed their training camps, and disrupted
both their funding and their means of communication.
Through these efforts, we have transformed al Qaeda
from a strong hierarchy that plans and executes
attacks to being a decentralized and amorphous group.
while al Qaeda may be weakened, it is not dead.
We continue to face threats from al Qaeda and its
offshoots in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and East Africa.
Their plots have included blowing up a Columbus
area shopping mall in 2004, as well as the recently
reported plot to release cyanide gas in the New
York City subway system in 2003.
also face threats from organizations affiliated
with al Qaeda, like Ansar al-Sunnah in Africa and
Jemmah Islamiya in southeast Asia. These groups
continue to train, recruit, and plan attacks, but
their chains of command are fractured and they are
not as stable as they were five years ago.
we have made great strides in disabling traditional
terrorist models like al Qaeda, the convergence
of globalization and technology has created a new
brand of terrorism. Today, terrorist threats may
come from smaller, more loosely-defined individuals
and cells who are not affiliated with al Qaeda,
but who are inspired by a violent jihadist message.
These homegrown terrorists may prove to be as dangerous
as groups like al Qaeda, if not more so.
have already seen this new face of terrorism on
a global scale in Madrid, London, and Toronto. We
have also witnessed this so-called "self-radicalization"
here at home.
Torrance, California, for example, four men were
indicted last year, charged with plotting to attack
U.S. military recruiting facilities and synagogues
in the Los Angeles area.
Toledo, three men were recently charged with conspiring
to provide money, training, communications equipment,
and computers to extremists in the Middle East.
As alleged in the indictment, these men taught themselves
how to make and use explosives. They conducted their
own training exercises. And they did it all here
this morning, the FBI and the Department of Justice
announced the indictment of seven individuals involved
in what appears to be another homegrown terrorist
cell. The leader of this cell is a U.S. citizen
living in Miami. He and six others are alleged to
have plotted to attack the Sears Tower in Chicago
and key federal buildings in Miami-Dade County.
extremists are self-recruited, self-trained, and
self-executing. They may not have any connection
to al Qaeda or to other terrorist groups. They share
ideas and information in the shadows of the Internet.
They gain inspiration from radical websites that
call for violence.
raise money by committing low-level crimes that
do not generate much attention. They answer not
to a particular leader, but to an ideology. In short,
they operate under the radar. And that makes their
detection that much more difficult for all of us.
detect homegrown terrorists, it helps to understand
the radicalization process. How does an individual
become a radical extremist? And how does an extremist
then become a terrorist? We have found that radicalization
is fluid; it does not follow a set formula or timetable.
often starts with individuals who are frustrated
with their lives or with the politics of their home
governments. They may be U.S.-born, or, as we saw
in London, second-generation citizens.
may be lonely or dissatisfied with their role in
society. Others may have friends or mentors who
encourage membership for social reasons.
a person has joined an extremist group, he or she
may start to identify with an ideologyone
that encourages violence against a government and
its citizens. They may become increasingly isolated
from their old lives, drift away from family and
friends, and spend more time with other members
of the extremist group.
they become more and more involved in the group,
they may decide to take action to support the causeactions
such as selecting targets, conducting surveillance,
raising money, and procuring materials. As talk
moves to action, an extremist can become a terrorist.
evolution from extremism to terrorism can take place
anywhere, from academic settings, mosques, prisons,
and community centers to the Internet.
and universities, for example, are both open as
well as isolated. Many students are at an impressionable
age, and are seeking ways to establish their own
are also fertile ground for extremists. Inmates
may be drawn to an extreme form of Islam because
it may help justify their violent tendencies. These
persons represent a heightened threat because of
their criminal histories, their propensity for violence,
and their contacts with fellow criminals.
four suspected terrorists arrested last year in
Torrance, California were recruited by one Kevin
James, the founder of a radical group called J.I.S.
James founded J.I.S from his cell in Folsom Prison
in California. He recruited fellow inmates and radicals
outside prison to join his mission, which was to
kill those he saw as "infidels."
are working with prison officials and academic leaders
across the country to identify these potential recruiting
venues. But we must also identify the recruiters
themselves who sometimes act as the leaders
of these homegrown cells.
recent cases, we have seen one key person, such
as Kevin James, who brought the Torrance group together.
These are not always spiritual leaders; they can
be mentors or friends. Regardless of their role,
they can transform their followers from radicals
fundamentalists are particularly difficult to pinpoint
in cyberspace. There are between 5,000 to 6,000
extremist websites on the Internet, encouraging
extremists to initiate their own radicalization
and to cultivate relationships with other like-minded
we have destroyed many terrorist training camps
in the past five years, extremists increasingly
turn to the Internet for virtual instruction. Of
course, not every extremist will become a terrorist.
But the radicalization process has become more rapid,
more widespread, and anonymous in this Internet
age, making detection that much more difficult.
we are talking about al Qaeda's operations overseas,
sleeper operatives who have been in place for years,
or the emergence of homegrown terrorists, our greatest
challenge is in mapping these underground networks.
This can be tedious, intricate work, but it is absolutely
essential to the safety of this country. We need
to see how certain individuals fit into the big
picture. We need to know where to set the trip wires
to identify the line between the extremist and the
operational. To meet that mission, we are relying
on three things: firstly, intelligence; secondly,
technology; and thirdly, partnerships.
is the key to preventing terrorist attacks. We must
be able to transform bits and pieces of information
into actionable intelligence and then disseminate
that intelligence to the people who need itall
within an exceptionally tight time frame.
the past five years, we have doubled the number
of intelligence analysts in the FBI and placed Field
Intelligence Groups in every one of our offices.
Together, agents, analysts, linguists, and surveillance
specialists collect and analyze vital intelligence
and share it with our partners in the law enforcement
and in the intelligence communities.
part of this effort, agents and analysts in each
of our field offices are taking a good, hard look
at their communities. Here in Cleveland, for instance,
we have learned more about the mass transit system,
the ports on Lake Erie, and the many airports, airstrips,
and heliports in the area. We have increased our
knowledge of Ohio's agricultural base and its key
industries, academic institutions, and people.
call it "knowing your domain." We need
to know the risk factors and the potential targets
for criminal and terrorist activity. With this information,
we can find and stop homegrown terrorists before
provides the information we need, but technology
enables us to find patterns and connections in that
intelligence. Using searchable databases, we can
track suspected terrorists through biographical
information, travel histories, and criminal and
our Investigative Data Warehouse, agents, analysts,
and law enforcement officers on Joint Terrorism
Task Forces across the country can search more than
50 databases, with more than 500 million terrorism-related
documents. In 2005 alone, users ran more than 10
million inquiries, with an average response time
of under eight seconds.
Terrorist Screening Center provides federal, state,
and local officials with real-time connectivity
to the terrorist watch list. We maintain a database
of more than 200,000 known or suspected terrorists.
When a police officer encounters a suspicious person,
the officer can access the screening center on the
spot for further information and direction.
we are not the only ones making ready use of emerging
technology. Terrorists are doing it as well. To
keep pace, we must be able to identify the links
between extremists and their activities. Technology
provides the means to make those connections.
the emergence of homegrown terrorism, the role of
our partners in state and local law enforcement
becomes that much more important. They are the feet
on the street the first to see new trends
in crime and terrorism.
FBI is a relatively small organization with but
12,000 agents, compared to 800,000 law enforcement
officers across the United States. That is why partnerships
like our Joint Terrorism Task Forces are so vital.
Police officers and others from the federal governmentincluding
the CIA, the Secret Service, and the Department
of Homeland Security, just to name a fewwork
side-by-side with FBI agents and analysts, cooperating
on investigations and sharing information with their
own departments and agencies.
the Torrance investigation, the police officers
who arrested two of the suspects in what looked
like a routine gas station robbery discovered evidence
that they were planning a terrorist attack. The
officers passed that information on to the local
Joint Terrorism Task Force. Together, they traced
the steps of these terrorists and exposed the entire
the initial information from the Torrance Police
Department, and the work of the Los Angeles Sheriff's
and Police departments, we might not have made the
connection between the terrorists' criminal activities
and their plans for attack.
partnerships also extend overseas. The ongoing Toronto
terrorism investigation is an outstanding example
of high-level coordinationcoordination between
international law enforcement and intelligence agencies
in Canada, America, Denmark, Britain, Bosnia, Bangladesh
and other countries.
have come together to share information and to address
the terrorist threat. We are investigating possible
ties between the Toronto suspects and terrorist
cells around the world. We must continue to work
together. We cannot stop global terrorism without
partnerships with those of you in the private sector
are equally important. Countering the spread of
global terrorism will take more than just the capture
of terrorist leaders. We are doubling our efforts
to reach out to communities across the country.
recent months, we have hosted town meetings from
Los Angeles to New York. We are also meeting with
community leaders and minority groups to demystify
the work we're doing. It's an important step in
strengthening bonds between the FBI and the citizens
are those who view the FBI with suspicion, and we
must bridge that gap. We must build confidence in
one another and forge lasting relationships. We
want to improve our understanding of our communities
by creating an open dialogue. We need to reach the
point where you are willing to come forward and
say, "I have seen or heard something that you
need to know."
must also build relationships within the Muslim
community to counter the spread of extremist ideology.
Increasingly, mainstream Muslim leaders are challenging
the extremist message of hatred and violence. The
radicalization cycle can only be broken if we stand
together against terrorism.
yesterday, representatives from the Muslim community
met with FBI leaders at Headquarters and in the
field to talk about sharing information and working
together to prevent terrorism and fight crime.
has been nearly five years since the last terrorist
attack on America. Yet there is no room for complacency.
As we have seen in recent months, our enemies are
adaptive and evasive. They are taking full advantage
of technology. They are combining their resources
and their expertise to great effect. We must do
greatest weapon against terrorism is unity. That
unity is built on information sharing and coordination
among our partners in the law enforcement and the
intelligence communities. It is built on partnerships
with the private sector and effective outreach to
the public as our eyes and ears. It is built on
the idea that, together, we are smarter and stronger
than we are standing alone.
one person, no one agency, no one police department,
and no one country has all the answers. We may not
always know where and when terrorists will attempt
to strike. But we do know they will try again. And
we must combine our intelligence, our technology,
and our resources to stop them.
face many challenges today, both from overseas and
from those living in our midst. But we must not
let terrorism change our way of life.
Thurber, one of Ohio's native sons and one of the
best-known writers and cartoonists of the 20th century,
once wrote, "Let us not look back in anger,
nor forward in fear, but around in awareness."
cannot look back in anger. Nor should we look forward
in fear. Terrorism is designed to incite both fear
and anger. Its very purpose is to make us afraidafraid
of what may happen, afraid of each other.
let us look around in awareness . . . of our citizens
and our communities, and of the dangers we face.
Most importantly, let us look around in awareness
of the strength of our democracy, the strength of
our unity, and the strength of our resolve. Armed
with these strengths, we cannot and we will not
you and God Bless.